Airberlin Closes Reservations For Some US Routes

Filed Under: Airberlin

Last Tuesday airberlin filed for insolvency, and since then it has become increasingly clear that the airberlin doesn’t have much of a future. The German government gave airberlin an emergency loan that should last them a few months, though one has to wonder whethter they’ll even keep operating a full schedule till they run out of money. It’s looking more and more like the airline will just be sold off into parts, so I’m not sure how well the money is spent to keep the airline flying for a few more months when it seems to have no future.

Anyway, @airlineroute notes that airberlin has closed reservations for certain transatlantic routes in the winter season, lasting from October 29, 2017, through March 24, 2018. Specifically, the following routes are no longer available for bookings:

  • 4x weekly Berlin to New York flights (there’s another daily flight which will continue to operate)
  • 5x weekly Berlin to San Francisco flights
  • 4x weekly Dusseldorf to Boston flights
  • 1x weekly Dusseldorf to Los Angeles flight (there are four other weekly flights that remain open for bookings)
  • 2x weekly Dusseldorf to Orlando flights (there are five other weekly flights that remain open for bookings)

In reality, there are decent odds that just about all of airberlin’s flights will cease to operate around November or so, which I guess means the above frequencies are only getting a head start of a few weeks at most.

Airlines do often make seasonal adjustments and cancel routes, so on one hand it’s possible this is just a seasonal adjustment. At the same time, typically adjustments like this would be made more than two months before the start of the season, given the cost and challenges of accommodating passengers on other flights.

So it sure looks to me like this isn’t just a standard seasonal adjustment, but is rather the very beginning of them trying to scale back operations in some markets.

  1. I’ve got a BA Avios booking DUS-JFK on AB metal for Nov 20th, 2017…Looking more and more like that route will evaporate or the flight will just ceases to exist since the loan runs out in November.

    Any idea what happens in that scenario? Would BA be obligated to rebook me as it would be a schedule change?

  2. The direct flight from Berlin to Los Angeles also seem to be no longer available from November on.

  3. Airberlin is done. Come November they will no longer exist and Lufthansa, Eurowings and other European low-cost carriers will come and take their place. For Etihad, Airberlin is like Swissair’s Sabena. Etihad and Swissair invested so much money in these failing airlines, only for them to go out of business. If Etihad was smart, they would pull all their financial support from other failing airlines they hold a stake in to avoid undergoing Swissair’s fate.

  4. @YYZflyer

    You are so right to draw the parallel with Swissair’s Sabena. The inept tenure after 1997 of Jeffrey Katz as SR CEO , whose bubble dream “Qualiflyer” was a heteroclit alliance of airlines which had nothing in common except SR having participations in a few of them was so similar to James Hogan’s at Etihad that the writing was on the wall.

    But what was uncharted territory for Swissair became a recipe for disaster that Etihad could have avoided. They simply did not do their homework.. or they had a very short memory.

    Swissair evolved into Swiss after a fictitious take over by Crossair, its regional sidekick. That Swissair had been the lone airline of a independent country (not a EU member) is what permitted it. There will be no such luck for Air Berlin which will be eaten alive by Lufthansa and Eurowings, maybe with a few crumbs to Condor or other candidates in case some parties cry foul about the lack of competition and over-dominant position for Lufthansa.

  5. Maybe, just maybe it’s lack of current or recent demand for AB tickets on these routes…just sayin 🙂

  6. I have a flight SFO to Zurich in November, when I bought it, it was flying through Berlin, but I got an updated travel information on June 14th that it was now going through Dusseldorf. This was either a early sign that I missed or they were already updating these flight paths before this whole situation.

  7. I booked a JFK-TXL flight for xmas time with BA avios, and got an email a few days ago from BA saying the flight got canceled and i was re-booked to the other flight on the same day (they had two flights per day scheduled originally).

    Hope they will be able to keep that other flight till end of year…

  8. “I’m not sure how well the money is spent to keep the airline flying for a few more months when it seems to have no future.”

    The 150 million won’t last them until November but it’s holiday season in Germany with tens of thousands or more of tourists who left or will leave on Air Berlin for this purpose. There are general elections on Sept. 24 and both big parties of the current government coalition have a majority of voters among the average middle-class citizens who’d be affected by a cease of operations. Of course, economically it doesn’t make any sense to spend that money. Politically it does – somehow and for some.

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